Lake Nakuru National Park was identified as the country’s first Ramsar site in 1990, in recognition for the international importance that the park’s wetlands have for waterfowl. With over 450 avian species recorded you’d be hard pushed to find better bird life! In particular, at certain times of the year up to 1.5 million lesser flamingos congregate in the soda lake that is Lake Nakuru’s namesake.
Shompole, closer to the Masai Mara, offers a similar flamingo experience. With generous populations of Burchill’s zebra, impala, Defassa waterbuck, Rothschild’s giraffe, both species of African rhino, arboreal lion and leopard, the park has plenty to offer other than birds, and it is one of the few places left in the world that can virtually guarantee a rhino sighting. The World Wildlife Foundation is running a major project to protect the delicate habitats enclosed within the national park, and a high electric fence surrounds the conservation area in an attempt to keep endangered species like the rhino within a manageable area, whilst keeping unwanted intruders out.
Lake Nakuru has several different forest regions dotted the lake, and each offers a varied habitat within which a range of different species can live…the Acacia and Colobus forests are located to the south of the river, the former along the banks of the Makalia River, whilst the Euphorbia Forest stretches along the eastern coast of Lake Nakuru. Relatively good road access allows for good game drives; walking safaris are not permitted, and there are some fantastic picnic sites and lookouts overlooking the various points of significant interest.
Varying water levels in the lake have a resulting impact on the visiting numbers of migratory waterfowl, and in the years leading up to 1997, Lake Nakuru had virtually dried up. Subsequently rain levels have picked up, and in recent years the lake’s levels have risen to around the 3.5 metre mark – once again providing a valuable home for the millions of birds that travel the vast distances to arrive here.
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